BOSTON, Mass. – The Simmons softball team was swept by Johnson & Wales University, 3-2 and 4-3, this afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference play at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks fall to 10-20 overall and 4-2 in league play, while the Wildcats win their fourth straight to improve to 13-11 and 5-1.
Johnson & Wales did all of its scoring in the fifth inning or later in both games.
First year shortstop Allie Mulhern (Westford, Mass.) helped pace the Simmons offense, going 2-5 with a run scored, while sophomore third base Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) was 2-7 with a double and a run batted in.
First year pitcher Zoe Jennings (Seekonk, Mass.) hurled five scoreless innings in relief and knocked in a run, while sophomore Devin Scales (Mount Airy, Md.) doubled and homered to drive in four runs to lead the Wildcats. Scales gave the visitors the lead for good with a two-run home run in the opener and pulled the visitors to within a run in the nightcap with a two-run double. Jennings was outstanding in game two, allowing just three hits and two walks (one intentional), while striking out three to earn the relief victory She also contributed at the plate, going 2-3, including an RBI single to give JWU the deciding run in the seventh. First year Megan Antaya (Somerset, Mass.) and senior Kayla McKinnon (Everett, Mass.) each collected three hits with Antaya stealing a base and scoring a run, while McKinnon scored a pair of runs.
First year starting pitcher Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) cruised through the first four innings for the Sharks and set down the first 13 JWU batters she faced in order, before McKinnon finally gave the visitors their first base runner with a an infield single to shortstop in the top of the fifth inning with one out. Scales followed with a two-run blast over the left field fence for her second long ball of the season and a 2-0 lead. Following the second out in the frame, sophomore Olivia DiGiacomo (Franklin, Mass.), Antaya and senior shortstop Brenna DuPerry (Cranston, R.I.) strung together three straight singles, including a run-scoring baseknock from DuPerry to make it 3-0.
Simmons got on the board in the bottom of the inning when sophomore second base Hailey Lowell (Pelham, N.H.) reached on an error and later scored on a single to center field off the bat of classmate Danielle Carson (Ashland, Mass.) to cut the deficit to 3-1. The Sharks added another run in the sixth when sophomore catcher Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) worked a one-out walk and came around to score on a two-out double off the bat of Santoro to pull Simmons within a run. Game one junior starting pitcher Kristin Frost (Pearl City, Hawaii) stranded Santoro at second to keep the Wildcats one-run lead intact.
Frost (6-3) allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts in six innings for Johnson & Wales, before junior reliever Saxon Bresnahan (Quincy, Mass.) retired the Sharks in order in the seventh for the save. Castigliego (6-5) was saddled with the loss for Simmons, yielding three runs on seven hits and a walk in addition to fanning a batter.
Johnson & Wales rallied for two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to overcome a three-run deficit and complete the sweep over the Sharks.
Simmons managed to get through the second, third, fourth and fifth innings without allowing a run, despite JWU putting the leadoff batter on base in each of those frames. The Wildcats finally broke through in the sixth when senior second base Ally Mishol (Longmeadow, Mass.) opened the sixth by reaching on an error and McKinnon later singled up the middle with one out to put a pair of runners on to set up a two-run double off the bat of Scales to pull Johnson & Wales to within 3-2. The Wildcats threatened for more, but first year Jenna Conroy (Milton, Mass.) hit a shallow fly ball to center that junior center fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) sprinted in and caught on a dive, before doubling the JWU pinch-runner off second base to end the inning.
The Sharks looked to add some insurance in their half of the sixth when sophomore starting pitcher Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) punched a single into right field and Mulhern ripped a single through the left side. Following a ground out to put both runners in scoring position with two outs, Johnson & Wales elected to intentionally walk Del Vacchio to load the bases and Jennings was able to end the threat with a full-count strikeout.
Antaya beat out a grounder to short to reach on an infield single with one out and stole second, before Yabroudy got a fly out to right field to leave Simmons an out away from the win. Senior third base Meghan Gavin (Wallingford, Conn.) kept the Wildcats hopes alive with a two-strike single up the middle to plate Antaya with the tying run. Mishol followed with an infield single and she and Gavin both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Jennings came through when she ripped a single up the middle to bring home Gavin with the go-ahead run for a 4-3 edge. Jennings came out for the seventh and retired the Sharks in order to earn the victory and improve to 3-1.
The Sharks got on the board in the second when Castigliego and Mulhern each singled ahead of a two-out, two-run single to the right-center gap off the bat of Del Vacchio to give the home team a 2-0 margin. Simmons added another run in the third when Bott belted a double off the left field fence and scored when Ortiz singled up the middle.
Yabroudy (3-8) suffered the loss for Simmons, giving up four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and a walk to go with a strikeout.
The Sharks return to action tomorrow when they travel to Hudson, N.H. to take on GNAC foe Rivier University for a 2:00 p.m. twinbill at Presentation of Mary Academy, while JWU hosts Albertus Magnus College at 12:00 p.m.